Nissan says it's cutting models, so these might be on the chopping block
31 July 2019 - Autoblog
10 percent of Nissan's global lineup must go
Last week, Nissan announced it was cutting 12,500 jobs and 10 percent of its global product lineup across its brands (Nissan, Infiniti and Datsun). While Nissan said it was mainly focusing on models from Datsun (now an emerging markets brand), we could see models axed in America, as well. The big question now is, which cars will Nissan do away with?
Ten percent of the total lineup, about 60 models, isn't that many. But there are some poorly performing vehicles in Nissan's lineup, and if Nissan follows the path of its American friends at Ford and GM, the models going away will most likely be sedans and small cars. However, there may be a crossover worth killing, too. We'll highlight a few possibilities for you below.
At one point in time we revered the Four-Door Sports Car for its fantastic combination of sporty dynamics and excellent practicality. Today, the Maxima is a bulbous, expensive sedan with a big V6, CVT and questionable dynamics. In fact, we think it's safe to say the Maxima certainly doesn't warrant being called the Four-Door Sports Car anymore. Sales were down significantly in 2018, and things look even worse for 2019. Where the Maxima and Murano used to be equals, the Murano (83,547 sales in 2018) is nearly doubling the Maxima (42,337 sales in 2018) at this point. With Nissan now offering all-wheel drive and the turbocharged variable-compression engine in the much newer Altima, it's hard to justify a place in the world for the front-wheel drive Maxima.
Killing your worst-selling model that's also old as hell sure seems like a prudent move. Infiniti still sells the Q70 and Q70L (long wheelbase) versions side-by-side, but they don't sell well. In 2018, Infiniti moved a meager 4,479 units. The old Infiniti has some tough competition in the dwindling midsize sedan segment, too. The BMW 5 Series, Audi A6 and Mercedes E-Class don't cost much more at their base prices, and they all offer a more luxurious driving experience. Even compared to its poor 2018 sales performance, 2019 is looking even worse for the Q70. If it dies, we won't be expecting a replacement, unless Infiniti has something electrified up its sleeve a few years down the road.
This one continues to confound us. Of course it's selling poorly, but that's because Nissan hasn't done anything new besides release special edition versions of the car for years now. The latest rumors tell us that Nissan is working on the next Z, but they're just that: rumors. Maybe a new Z car will be coming as a re-branded Infiniti Q60? If so, there will probably be plenty of folks ready to turn their noses up at it. We can't be sure what Nissan's plan is here, but low-volume sports cars are always a tough sell when you're going through a crisis like Nissan is right now.
One thought you may have is the Sentra. That said, we aren't prepared to predict that Nissan will eliminate the Sentra at this point, as these cheap compacts still move off lots with vigor. Nissan sold over 213,000 in 2018, which marked the model's fourth straight year of over 200,000 sales. The model is looking mighty fine in 2019, as well. It and the Versa are far enough away from each other in price and performance that keeping both of them in the lineup makes sense — do note that the more expensive Versa Note is going away after the 2019 model year is finished up. With both the Focus and Cruze riding off into the sunset, the compact sedans that are left may have a little bit more pie to fight over, too.